“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
– William James
I really love this quote because it could not be more accurate. While none of us are immune from stress (albeit the degrees vary), it’s how we react to it and manage it that can truly change our life. We have got to let go of stress because our bodies will manifest it in the worst of ways. Stress will pile up high if you don’t learn how to dispose of it properly. Here are my top 5 tips to managing and releasing stress.
- Ask yourself, “Will this matter in 5 years?”
No? Then let that ish go! Do not let a miniscule matter ruin your entire day. Life is too precious! If it really will matter in five years, then take care of the situation and move on. The key here is to take the appropriate action to resolve it. Don’t sit and wallow in your problems and allow your past to ruin your present – do something! Not taking action only brings about more stress, so make a plan and commit to taking action. Simply asking yourself this question when stress hits will get you grounded and focused on what matters, and what doesn’t.
- Move Yo’ Body
Exercise has been scientifically proven to boost your serotonin levels (e.g., one of your happy hormones). Whenever I start to feel like I am in a slump I head outside (bonus stress-smashing points if there is sunshine!) and go on a 20-minute walk. Without a doubt, I feel so much better afterwards. Exercise is a part of my regular routine because of the impact it has on my mind and mood. Lift weights, go on a run, practice yoga, kickboxing, swimming, etc., any form of exercise that you enjoy doing will bring you a lot of relief and combat stress. Pro Tip: On those days when you don’t feel like moving and you’d rather just sit and eat a pint of ice cream, please do yourself a favor and get your butt moving! One of the reasons you are feeling blah is because your serotonin levels are already low, so once you get moving, your serotonin will increase and you’ll be much happier and a lot less stressed.
- Eat Well, Be Well
You want to feel like crap? Then eat like crap. You want to feel good, do good and look good? Then eat that way. Downing a bag of potato chips when you are stressed isn’t going to help you or solve your problems, but rather make you feel so much worst. Treat your body well and the rest will follow. Fill up on energizing leafy greens, omega-3 rich foods like salmon and avocados, and dark chocolate to reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety. One of my favorite ways to kill stress is to sip it away! I love a cup of chamomile tea or a soothing latte that contains adaptogens like ashwagandha or reishi. It will do wonders for your mind.
Sometimes “brain dumping” is the perfect release to let stress go. Once you start writing down that you are “so upset because you lost your phone charger,” you’ll feel silly that you are stressing at all. Alternatively, focus on the good in your life by writing out what you are thankful for. Bringing yourself back to a place of gratitude is always a terrific reminder of how much good is in your life. Once you start writing out everything you are thankful for and everything that is going right, you will be much less concerned with anything negative. Our inner thoughts create our outer world, and remember those inner thoughts are up to us. Choose to focus on the good, expect the good and more good will follow.
- Surround Yourself with Like-Minded, Good People
When we are feeling stressed, we often think we need to be alone to get through it, but that’s not the case. Surround yourself with people that lift you up, make you laugh and love you. Between the laughter and human connection, you will be much more focused on having fun and being happy than whatever it was that was causing you to stress.
Remember to control what you can – YOUR MIND – and release what you can’t – everything else – and always practice peace.